Throughout its hundred year history, Benjamin Franklin High School has reflected the character and people of Highland Park. It has changed and grown from a majority middle class Anglo school to a predominately working class Latino student body. Much like the larger community, the school has struggled to meet the needs of its growing population with limited support and resources from the District and State. Recently it experimented with breaking up into smaller academies that provide instruction for smaller groups of students in specific disciplines.
Through its many challenges, however, the relationship between the community and the school has stayed strong, multiple generations of one family often attending the school, and, in the case of teacher Yim Tam, former students coming back to teach or serve the school in a variety of capacities.
This past year a group of Yim Tam's students at Franklin High School took part in Departures Youth Voices and created interactive digital murals that tell their story of Highland Park. They share their memories and experiences of growing up in this dynamic and rich community as it transitions into its next phase.
Above, Arroyo Seco Academy teacher Yim Tam describes the split programs within the institution, how the the academy operates, and student projects promoted by the academy; student murals produced in the Departures: Youth Voices Highland Park installment are also featured.